THE PUBLIC got generous glimpses of public mourning amid private grief as the children of the late former president Corazon Aquino bared their sorrows over the death of someone who was fondly called the Mother of the Nation.

Members of the Aquino family told the Varsitarian they would want to remember “Cory” not only as an icon of democracy, but as a mother and best friend as well.

Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, Cory’s only son, emphasized his mother’s heroism in uniting the Filipinos and running the country after dictator Ferdinand Marcos was deposed and left the nation “with numerous problems.”

“She told me before how she would pity the next president after Marcos after all the mistakes Marcos did. Little did she know she was next,” he recalled.

Noynoy said his mother had fears in running for president during the snap election in 1986, but was overwhelmed by the support of the Filipinos to her.

“Despite the chaos during Martial Law, she was still able to personally take good care of us and fulfilled her duties like any mother,” Noynoy said in a cracking voice.

Viel Aquino-Dee, Cory’s third daughter, said that “it is comforting to know she is now resting, no more pain. Even if we will miss her, at least she is in a better place.”

“She is always appreciative of the things we do for her, even the smallest things,” said Viel.

“As a mother in law, she was always the least pretentious person I know. What you see is what you get,” said Dodo Dee, Viel’s husband.

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Cory’s niece, Mikee Cojuanco-Jaworski, described her as a very transparent and responsible aunt.

“How you see her as an icon of democracy is just the same [as how we view her as a close relative],” she said. “It will be a great loss to the country if the youth would forget her contributions. It is their responsibility to know Cory Aquino and to live by her deeds.”

‘Lola Cory’

Koko Dee, Viel’s eldest son, said that he steeled himself for the death of his grandmother.

“We were very thankful because we had a year to be with her since she was diagnosed with colon cancer. Even just a little, the blow [of her death] was softened. It would have been harder for us if she had died in another way,” he said.

Though Koko was not beside his grandmother when she died, he said that he never regretted anything because his grandmother went in peace.

“When my dad and I came, the whole family was praying the rosary. For five seconds, she stopped breathing. It took one last deep breath and then the machine displayed flat line,” Koko recalled that fateful early morning on August 1 in Room 920 of the Makati Medical Center.

Jiggy Cruz, Cory’s eldest grandson, never left her side. He said he personally witnessed her pain and suffering in her dying days.

“But then, I know my lola would have wanted us to be strong for one another, and that is what we are doing now,” Jiggy said. “We are doing our best to represent the Aquino family in simultaneous Masses going on.”

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“Personally, as a grandson, who am I to deserve such a grandmother like her? It is really very touching that hundreds of people went to sympathize with us. She loves you like she loved us,” said Kiko.

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